Toby Clements’ Kingmaker: Broken Faith picks up the story of Katherine and Thomas in 1463, two years after the epic last battle in Winter Pilgrims. Katherine is still in disguise, this time as a noble woman and Thomas, who suffered amnesia at the battle of Towton, is living with his brother and family. Neither of them are happy as life is terribly hard, but both are having a brief respite from the battlefield until trouble seems to catch up with them again. Thomas still has the mysterious Pardoner’s ledger from Winter Pilgrims, which is right at the very heart of this story although neither he nor any of the other characters have any idea just why it’s so important for some time.
I gave the previous book high praise for its rich description, sense of place and attention to the effect the Wars of the Roses had on the ordinary people of the day. I was delighted to find that this book has that same attention to detail, from the clothes they wore to the battles they had to fight, not only to exist but to survive. It also has the same swiftly moving plot.
This story leaves the reader in no doubt that times were hard as it describes Katherine and Thomas’s wanderings around the country trying to evade the evil Rivens family, who haven’t quite been vanquished yet, whilst trying to work out which King they should actually be supporting to serve the best interests of their sponsor Sir Fakenham.The battles are again gory and gruesome as are the descriptions of the operations Katherine has to perform. These scenes are not only highly educational, they also add to the sense of tension and drama that surrounds these two unlucky protagonists.
What really makes these books work for me are the characters of Katherine and Thomas. They’re such likeable people who, despite all their struggles and troubles, never give in and rarely complain, no matter what ills are thrown at them, and they really do have more than their fair share of bad fortune.
In fact the characters and plot of this story are so strong I doubt it will be long before we see the story turned into a film or TV show. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, as I’m sure there will be one. Clements has been so thorough in his research that he must have much more to tell.
Kingmaker: Broken Faith was published by Arrow on 14 January 2016.